Tracker poll shows Walker and Begich switch places behind front-runner Dunleavy

Mark Begich, Gov. Bill Walker and Mike Dunleavy. The three are headed for a three-way race for governor in the fall.

The second in Alaska Survey Research/Ivan Moore’s tracker polling of the Alaska gubernatorial race was released today, showing that Republican Mike Dunleavy is still handily in the lead of a three-way race for Alaska’s governor.

But the most interesting takeaway from the update, which was posted today to the polling firm’s Facebook page, is that it’s now Independent Gov. Bill Walker who’s in second place while Democratic candidate Mark Begich has slid into third.

Here’s the comparison from the first survey to the second. The poll was conducted with 500 likely Alaska voters between Oct. 1 and 6, the last poll had a self-reported margin of error of ± 4.4 percent.

The Sept 21-25 results are on the left. The Oct 1-6 are on the right.

“What is surprising is that while Begich was in second in the first poll, Walker is in second now. But it’s not a move that’s really predicted by a shift in the pos-negs, it’s just that you guys CAN’T MAKE YOUR MINDS UP and flit from one to the other,” wrote Moore in the accompanying Facebook post, adding a detailed breakdown of how the favorables for each candidate haven’t moved much since the last survey. “You guys drive me crazy.”

Here’s those favorables:

Does it matter?

Dismissing unfavorable polling results from Moore and Alaska Survey Research is a time-honored tradition, but keep in mind that though his outfit gets a C from FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rankings it also gives him a +1.3 mean-reverted bias in favor of Democrats. Does that come into play here? Who knows.

There’s also the margin of error of the polling. The variance from one poll to another—especially with the sample size—could be a result of that ± 4.4 percent margin of error.

Regardless, the polling is certainly not what the anti-Dunleavy crowd would like to see at this point in the race and contributes to the fear that Begich and Walker are splitting votes. With the final run to election day, any hope of a non-Dunleavy victory will rely on either Begich or Walker consolidating enough votes to reach whatever magical number ensures a victory in a three-way race–perhaps 38 percent? With voters still seemingly on the fence, the clock’s ticking.

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